Archives for posts with tag: Fair

As a marketer I like to participate in market research if I’m asked, and if I’m allowed – people from a marketing background can sometimes be excluded from participating in surveys. I know how hard it is get intelligence on a market.

Generally it’s a very short call, which is fine. Sometimes, I get called by a big research house in Dublin to help with a state of the market survey they do periodically. How’s my business doing, how do I think it will do, and so on. I avoid their calls these days.

Here’s why: it’s an unfair exchange. Firstly, the call is always about 15 minutes long, which is far too long and contains loads of repetitive questions. 15 minutes is a really long time to tie someone up on the phone. Secondly, I get nothing back. Not a copy of the research, nothing. In fact, it’s not just an unfair exchange, there’s no exchange at all. It’s all one way, coming from me.

Many companies doing research will offer a voucher, or a copy of the research, or entry into a draw for a device, in return for your time and attention. These guys don’t. They just persist with the phone calls.

If it’s not a fair deal for both parties, it will never last. It will simply cause resentment and close doors for good.


The role of marketing is to influence the exchange of outcomes between two parties. This exchange normally involves one party parting with money, but not always. The role of personal selling, as one of the 4 main elements of the promotional mix, is to close the outcome in favour of the selling organisation – closing the deal.

The natural inclination of the sales organisation is to get the best possible deal, to extract as much out of the sale as possible. The phrase ‘don’t leave any money on the table’ is the mantra of the sales-maximising organisation. Taken too far, this short term mentality, that of treating┬áthe customer as someone you can shaft because they’re never likely to buy from you again, has been around as long the sales profession itself. It is flawed, and if you believe in karma, you’ll know that in some form it will come back to bite you.

A successful deal is all about a fair exchange. The deal has to feel right for both parties. If it doesn’t, one party will renege on the deal and it won’t stay on the books. Alternatively, if they can’t pull out because of contractual reasons, they will sour the relationship, if it isn’t sour already. They won’t be a repeat customer and they’ll also tell 3 times as many people about their experiences as they would if the deal was a fair one.

A fair exchange is a long term deal, a partnership, where both companies address their business problems and profit.

No-one said life was fair, but if you want to win in the long run, you can make it fair.